A Story

Everybody understands suffering. Its something we share with everybody else. It is at once utterly intimate, yet utterly shared.

'The world is filled with pain and sorrow', the Buddha taught.

'But I have found a serenity, that you can find too', he told his followers.

2500 Years ago, nestled in a fertile valley between India and present day Nepal, a child was born who was to become the Buddha. The stories say that before his birth his mother who was known as Maya of Sakya, the queen of an Indian kingdom, had a dream. A beautiful white elephant danced around her three times, and then offered the queen a lotus flower before entering the side of her body. When sages were asked to interpret the dream, they predicted the queen would give birth to a son, destined to become either a great ruler, or a holy man. One day they said, he would either conquer the world, or become an enlightened being, the Buddha. Within ten months while walking through the park, a tree lowered a branch to support her and a baby boy was born emerging from her side. Seven days later, the queen died.

No matter what your circumstances, you will end up losing everything you love, you will end up aging, you will end up ill. The problem we face is that we need to make all of that be alright. The Buddha also taught that life is blissful, and joy is everywhere. We need only to open the doors that are closing us off.

Stamped clay images or tsa-tsas are common place in the Himalayas and surrounding regions. They are often made from clay mixed with the ashes of revered teachers. The process of making a tsa-tsa is an act of devotion and the finished images are distributed to the faithful and placed inside stupas, or sacred sites. The images are a reminder that the joys of life remain in the subtle details, and that one only needs to open their eyes and heart to realize it.